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Why You Should Work with a Blacksmith

Up until 1999, I didn’t think it was even possible to get blacksmith-made hardware for my furniture pieces. Today I rarely build a piece that doesn’t have some part that was made by a blacksmith or whitesmith. In 1999 my then-boss Steve Shanesy took me to a blacksmith in Cold Spring, Ky., named Marsha Nelson. I spent an afternoon photographing her work and was amazed at how quickly she could […]

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Installing Hardware with a Center Punch

Installing Hardware with a Center Punch

Thanks to a book I’m writing on campaign furniture, I’ve installed more brass hardware in the last two years than in my first 18 years of woodworking. As a result, I have become quite particular about how I install screws for hinges, pulls, corner protectors, hasps, locksets and so on. I’ve revisited a lot of … Read more »

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How to Stock up on Traditional Fasteners

How to Stock up on Traditional Fasteners

If you build traditional casework with traditional joints and fasteners then you already know the local hardware store is of little use when you need some 4d rosehead nails. Lucky for us, there’s the Internet, which can be a pretty good hardware store. Several readers have asked about what fasteners they should keep in stock … Read more »

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Strip Zinc with Citric Acid

Strip Zinc with Citric Acid

Sorry zinc, I am not attracted to you. Yes, you keep the elements at bay, but your non-stop shiny countenance is irritating. It looks out of place on my traditional projects. And you do not age well. Zinc, it’s over. I’m going to go get me a stripper. </stupidliteraryexercise> There are lots of ways to … Read more »

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New Lee Valley Precision Screwdrivers Seeking Grace

New Lee Valley Precision Screwdrivers Seeking Grace

If you are picky about the screws you use in your projects, you are probably as picky about your screwdrivers. I sure am. Typical inexpensive and mid-price screwdrivers for slotted screws have a tip that tapers like a wedge. This wedge doesn’t have much contact with the screw. And if you slip while driving, the … Read more »

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Remove Rust, Zinc and Black Oxide with ‘The Works’

Remove Rust, Zinc and Black Oxide with ‘The Works’

Three of the enemies in my shop are rust, zinc coating and black oxide. 1. Rust: No explanation needed. Rust is the enemy of steel, and steel is what allows us to tame wood. 2. Zinc coating: Many steel fasteners are coated with an ugly layer of zinc to protect them from rust in the … Read more »

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Install a Ring Pull – Against my Better Judgment

Install a Ring Pull – Against my Better Judgment

One of my first orders from the Lee Valley Tools catalog was for a big supply of these traditional ring pulls. I love this fastener for so many reasons. It is inexpensive. It looks great. It is made in Italy. It works with a wide variety of furniture styles, from Japanese tansu to contemporary. But Continue reading»

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Highly Recommended: Grace USA Screwdrivers

Highly Recommended: Grace USA Screwdrivers

It’s sad to say, but all of the so-called “lifetime” screwdrivers I’ve tried over the years are sorely lacking in one way or another. On many of them, the tips are soft or poorly shaped. Soft tips are, of course, worthless and soon become useless (unless you need a shank in prison). The shape of Continue reading»
 

Campaign Chests on a Budget

Campaign Chests on a Budget

When I had a bunch of woodworkers over to my house recently, they spent some time looking over the Campaign chest I finished recently for an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Their first question: “How much did all this hardware cost?” The answer: About $700. They gasped, but after examining the hardware on the Continue reading»
 

How to Drive Brass Screws with Care

How to Drive Brass Screws with Care

There is some good advice out there on how to drive brass screws when installing furniture hardware. To recap: 1. Use the right-size pilot holes. The bit should be the diameter of the un-threaded portion of the screw. 2. Use good screws. If your brass screws are soft, you should first cut the threads in Continue reading»
 

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